Sunday, 2 November 2008
Brive-la-Gaillarde : Corrèze
Limoges, in Haute-Vienne had been an unexpected joy.
The colourful parades of citizens, pleasant encounters with shopkeepers, electric trolly buses and spontaneous goings-on around the place; - these were the things one doesn't discover by studying books.
The day was far from closing and though we had thought to stay here overnight, Brive-la-Gaillarde was only 80 k away. And 80 k closer to Millau on the following day.
A quick dash, with the images of Google Earth replaying in my head and we had arrived.
I was amazed how unnecessary a GPS was in France.
Everything is just where you think, and the coffee shops le long de la route were always there to add some mayhem and joy, but never confusion !
We added that ourselves, and when we return we must retrace some of these steps, just to revisit old, new-found friends, especially les gendarmes.
Brive, in the Département Corrèze was quite a surprise.
Le Chopin Fin, where we stayed was excellent and many times funnier than Fawlty Towers.
Muriel et Florent were as funny as a fit, or two.
They were so obliging and so happy to speak their langue maternelle française in quite a new way. And they gave us the history of Brive with just no prompting.
It seems that Brive-la-Gaillarde was the headquarters of a clandestine information network and a base of the Armée Secrète during the war.
There was also a branch of the Mouvements Unis de la Résistance and they were proud to tell us of their pride, and where we could see monuments to substantiate these proud stories.
Brive-la-Gaillarde was the first city of Occupied France to liberate itself by its own means, on August 15, 1944.
For this, the city received the “Croix de guerre 1939-1945” military decoration. (Wikipedia)
A quick meal at the POST'CAFÉ, a few night shots, and the younger Brivistes had just noisily hit the streets.
Just like we used to do !